TED & TEDx talks

TED_TEDX“Huge success!!!!!!!  I was told by the organisers my speech was not only the best but the one that best encapsulated the spirit of TED!! Well done and thank you so much for your help.”
PB, February 2016

So, you feel suitably flattered to have been asked, and are now wondering exactly what to say! You’re not alone. TED has become ubiquitous online, and writing for TED has become one of our most popular services. And before you ask, we are 100% discrete. So nobody watching or listening will have a clue we helped you.

Speaking at TED or TEDx brings with it a certain amount of pressure for obvious reasons:

  • It’s given in front of a live audience
  • It’s available online
  • You can’t delete it
  • There’s no lectern and you don’t hold a script

On the basis that you are probably used to speaking in front of large groups, those issues are all surmountable. But then there’s the BIG problem. The need to stand out in a genre dominated by some of the great speakers of recent times. Motivators. Thinkers. Doers of great deeds and witnesses to many others.

And then there’s the ultimate challenge: the brief. To communicate “ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.” Which is often the point at which our phone rings!

The truth is that writing and delivering a TED talk is actually relatively easy. As long as you enter the process with a degree of perspective. Because you will probably have been invited to speak because you are very good at something. You are bound to know an awful lot about it. And the temptation will be to tell people all about it and to fill 18 minutes that way.

Unfortunately, that’s not a route to a million views and eternal fame. Because you’ll probably end up with something that is too detailed, difficult to digest, and uninspiring to deliver (or listen to).

The key is to consider life from the perspective of someone who doesn’t inhabit your world. If you’re a scientist, assume they studied history. If you’re a historian, assume they read the ‘New Scientist’ for fun. Your aim is not to prep them for an exam, but to offer a new perspective. A different way of seeing things. Of prioritising. Of understanding.

Take my favourite TED talk of all (and it’s not an original selection). Ken Robinson on the dearth of creativity in schools. Sir Ken (as he is now) led a government advisory committee on creative and cultural education. He has published a number of books on the subject of creativity. But listening to his talks, you wouldn’t know it. His approach is relaxed and conversational. For every fact, there are two minutes of anecdote. He asks as many questions as he answers. He is clearly someone who knows his stuff, but he doesn’t ever sound like he’s lecturing.

Crucially, during (and after) his talk, you are under no illusions about his key message. Creativity matters. Creativity is our future. So are our children. So let’s cultivate their creativity, not suffocate it.

In a nutshell, that’s how we’d like to help you with your TED or TEDx talk. We won’t tell you about what you already know, but help you translate it into something interesting, inspiring and memorable for all the right reasons. We’ll help you tell a story, and write it in a way that is easy to deliver and remember. We can also help you deliver it (if required).

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